What’s High in the Middle and Round on the Ends?

Ohio!  Not my favorite state, but still better than Alabama.  Yes, Romney won there yesterday in a nailbiter, narrowly edging out Rick Santorum, and that’s where the news is today.  The media focusses on the big race, ignoring, much to its detriment, the myriad of local and statewide races.  Take, for example the primary that pitted Democrat Marcy Kaptur against none other than lefty-elf Dennis Kucinich.  Their districts were consolidated following the results of the 2010 primary, and despite Kucinich having higher name recognition and a national profile, he was demolished by Kaptur, a long-serving Democratic stalwart.  The seat will likely remain in Democratic hands, and we’ll hear no more of Kucinich in the near future.  At one point, he considered moving to Washington state to run for a seat in the House there, but nothing ever came of that.

Another notable upset occurred within the ranks of the Ohio Congressional delegation when Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, nicknamed as ‘Mean Jean’ a name she earned when she called the late Congressman and decorated war hero Jack Murtha (D-PA) a coward on the floor of the House after he called for US forces to withdraw from Iraq.  She was beaten by a political novice, Dr. Brad Wenstrup, a physician who has never held elected office.  Schmidt’s tenure in the House was marked by controversies such as the above, and hers was a classic case of not realizing that you get more flies with honey than vinegar.  Put simply: she was a shrill, unpleasant woman, and her constituents disliked her.  To which I say good.  The seat’s going to remain in Republican hands, and while disagreement is guaranteed, there’s no reason that those disagreements cannot be civil.

If this is something that happening in GOP primaries, I think that it’ll portend something larger in the years to come.  We may finally start to see a softening, somewhat, of the more extreme Republican elements.

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